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VA Student Trainee Experience Program (VA-STEP)

The Veterans Affairs Student Trainee Experience program provides an opportunity for outstanding college nursing students to develop clinical competencies at an approved medical Center. VA-STEP is designed to increase participants’ clinical skills, clinical judgement and critical thinking while caring for our nation’s Veterans.

This program provides opportunities for learning with a qualified BSN-prepared RN preceptor. Students selected must have completed their junior year in an accredited baccalaureate nursing program. Students are required to work 400 hours prior to graduation from nursing school.

Traditional BSN students may work ten weeks of paid, full-time work during the summer months (June-August), or they can work part of the time during summer and complete the rest of the hours during senior year. Accelerated baccalaureate nursing students may start their 400 hours after fall semester is complete and finish the hours prior to graduation. The program includes orientation, clinical practice with a preceptor, various patient experiences as well as other planned educational experiences, as time allows.

Program goals

Participants will learn the role of the professional nurse within a healthcare system using evidenced based practice for best patient outcomes. They will understand the culture and special needs of the Veteran population. The goal is for the participant to develop confidence, critical thinking, and proficiency of nursing skills.


VA-STEP SNTs are paid as hourly, intermittent employees. They are not eligible for overtime pay, holiday pay or shift differentials. The rate of pay changes each year. The pay is 80% of a Nurse I Level I salary.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited BSN program and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale with no grade lower than a B in any nursing course. Must have completed the final semester of the junior year and be eligible to graduate by the following year. The applicant must be a U.S. Citizen, provide documentation of immunizations and submit all application materials. VA-STEP SNTs should have had at least one clinical experience in a medical center or a hospital. Students in an accelerated BSN program can apply for VA-STEP if they meet the program requirements and are available to work 400 hours or 10 weeks. Participants may not have a service obligation to any federal, state, or private institution or be a recipient of any federal scholarship that incurs a service obligation.

How to apply

To apply, participants will need a cover letter, an unofficial transcript from all colleges attended, resume/portfolio and two letters of recommendation. One of the letters of recommendation needs to be from a junior clinical instructor. Completed applications will be submitted to:

Loraine Eden-Davis, MSN, RN, MEDSURG-BC, EBP-C
Nurse Residency & Training Program
VA-STEP Coordinator

Application date

Applications are accepted throughout the year if slots are available.